If you’re sitting in a cafe, sending the laughing-with-tears emoji, wearing skinny jeans, and have side-parted hair, I have news for you: you’re ancient. Or at least that’s what the Tik-Tok and Instagram Reels-obsessed Gen Z is saying about millennials. The generation wars are on.
If we wanted to largely divide the world into Boomers and non-Boomers; we’ve miserably failed. Those below the age of 24 want nothing to do with millennials, the generation that’s been culturally dictating what’s hot and what’s not for over a decade now. Our millennial monopoly seems to be ending. We now listen to the latest chart-toppers and can’t help but go ‘Tch tch tch, ‘Is this music?’, ‘Humare zamane mein toh…’, echoing exactly what our parents used to say about our own playlists.
We’ve long been scoffing over the ‘cringey’ TikTok-churning Gen Z kids — they listen to music that can hardly qualify as such, refuse to acknowledge the benefits of avocado toast, and haven’t led the overly-romanticised ’90s life. Even their generation’s Pokémons have nothing over the Bulbasaur and Squirtles of the world, and have grown up bereft of the magic of low-budget programmes of our youth such as ‘Son Pari‘ and ‘Hatim‘. In this generation war, the millennials are too obsessed with changing the world (or just changing Boomers), while Gen Z wants to ‘chill’.
Millennials are ‘lame’
To be fair, Gen Z members do raise some important issues about the millennial generation. Junior millennials do tend to cling on to the ’90s way more than they should, especially given the fact that a lot of us weren’t old enough then to make any cherish-able long-term memories. But one must understand the appeal of the ’90s — it was the transitory period from the pre-internet to the post-internet era, when information was handsy if not readily available 24×7, and this makes the millennials the only generation that can boast about living through two different eras in their youth. They are truly the children of Marx and Coca-Cola.
Gen Z also takes umbrage with how being a Harry Potter buff counts as a valuable personality trait for most millennials. And perhaps we do assign too much value to what a fictitious hat had to say about students in a magic school. But they haven’t grown up on a book series where the protagonists literally grow up with you, and don’t know what real fandom based on real culture — not just the internet — looks like.
Millennials, as per Gen Z, also need to check the emojis that they’re using in their texts. Apparently, using the ‘tears of joy’ emoji as a way to call something hilarious is now passé because it’s been used to death and doesn’t qualify as being funny anymore. As one “internet linguist” explained, “Tears of Joy was a victim of its own success”.
Boomers don’t need to worry about decoding ‘Lols’ and ‘Rofls’ either, because now nonsensical phrases like ‘dffksnsj’ — texts that sound like a butt-dial — are the new way kids are expressing that they’re indeed laughing. No wonder millennials are having that eye-roll moment for ‘kids these days’.
We’re the toughest generation
Coming back to the skinny jeans — dear Gen Z, if you’ve worn them, you should know what millennials are made of if we’re willing to spend our entire lives in those uncomfortable pants just to look fashionable.
You want to come at us with your jibes on Twitter take-downs and memes? Honey, who do you think mastered the art of internet memes first?
In my view, millennials are the generation that has received the most hate, whether from the older ‘Boomer’ generation who insists we are self-involved “snowflakes” riddled with mental health issues and bad work ethic, or from the younger lot who think we’re too basic because we don’t understand their inexplicable ways.
But we’ll continue to preach love to a world that’s been only and only cruel to us.
If you’re watching your shows on an OTT platform today, it’s because we started the trend of pirated content to give things mass popularity first. If you’re gaining some clout on TikTok today, it’s because we started the culture of social media as we know it and elevated the reach of micro-influencers. We gave you a world where it was okay to have a bad mental health day and be unapologetic about your PMS and bloating. You do you. We created the culture you’re telling us we’re too old for.
Around the world, millennials have defied their image of ‘couch potatoes’ to get on the road and protest against everything from authoritarianism, climate change, to human rights. We’re demanding a better world for the future generations, without the passivity of the generations that came before us — although every new generation says this.
The world we inherited was difficult — most of us entered the workforce in a recessionist economy — and we’re trying the best we can. Gen Z should remember that their baggy jeans and middle-parted hair are all part of fashion’s cyclical nature, in other words — we’ve been there and done that.
Oh, and look out, Generation Alpha is coming.
Views are personal.